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Everything You Need to Know About Benzo Abuse & Addiction

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Around 30.5 million people in the United States reported using benzodiazepines (“benzos”) in 2016, according to the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. However, the findings also discovered that out of that 30.5 million, only about 0.2% met the criteria for an anxiety disorder. This means that many people are actively misusing this medication, which puts them at risk of becoming addicted to them.

If you are struggling to control your prescription benzodiazepine use, or if you are concerned that someone you love may be addicted to benzos, know that there is hope. With professional treatment, many people go on to lead healthy, sober lives, free from benzodiazepine dependence.

At SOBA New Jersey, we offer comprehensive benzodiazepine addiction treatment in New Jersey at our state-of-the-art facility. We offer an integrated approach to recovery, one that treats both the addiction and the underlying factors that cause it. Our emphasis on mental health and dual-diagnosis treatment, as well as our intensive focus on each individual’s unique recovery needs, allows us to provide a higher level of quality care than the standard drug and alcohol rehab.

Ready to take the first step in your recovery? Contact us today at (888) 229-7989 or reach us online using our secure submission form. We are available 24/7 to assist you.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a group of tranquilizer medications that treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. They are depressants, meaning these pills help calm the nervous system down. With millions of people in America reporting to have high levels of anxiety, benzos are one of the most prescribed medications.

Some of the commonly used benzodiazepines include:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)

Benzodiazepines can be prescribed by doctors to treat a variety of mental health conditions. They can also be used in hospitals and other medical settings to improve patients’ comfort in a variety of settings.

What Effects Do Benzodiazepines Have?

Taken as prescribed, benzos have a relaxation effect on the body. They attach to the brain’s gamma-amino-butyric-aced (GABA) receptors. These receptors are part of a system that helps calm the nervous system. However, those who misuse the medication by taking more than prescribed may experience some euphoric effects as well. Increasing the dosage for recreation increases your chances of becoming addicted considerably.

Some of the short-term effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Loss of motor control
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Short-term memory problems

When taken excessively and/or for long periods of time, benzodiazepines can lead to:

  • Cognitive problems
  • Memory loss
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • Permanent brain changes
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings

Are Benzodiazepine’s Addictive?

Like other drugs, benzodiazepines have a high potential for dependence and addiction. Even if you take them exactly as directed by your physician, you can build a tolerance to them and even become dependent on them.

Once your body has become dependent on benzos, getting off them requires planning. Oftentimes, medical supervision is required for those wishing to taper off or stop their benzodiazepine use. Your physicians need to know exactly which pills you’re taking, whether it’s Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, or something else entirely.

It can be dangerous to stop taking benzos entirely (“cold turkey”), as this can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Some people begin feeling withdrawal symptoms after only taking benzos for a couple of weeks. For those wishing to stop their benzo use altogether, it is recommended that they gradually decrease their usage under the care of a psychiatrist or addiction expert.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Poor judgment
  • Mood swings

Is It Dangerous to Quit Benzos?

Depending on how you try to quit using benzos, it can be very dangerous. Abruptly stopping your usage can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. Some of these include hallucinations, grand mal seizures, or delirium.

For those struggling with serious benzo abuse or addiction, it is best to quit by seeking treatment at a drug rehab and detox center. During medical detox, you will receive around-the-clock supervision and care. In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be used to lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Your addiction treatment team can devise a plan specific to you, your situation, and your needs.

At SOBA New Jersey, we offer medical detox for benzodiazepine addiction treatment in New Jersey. Our clients receive direct access to some of the state’s top clinicians, as well as a wide range of effective therapies and treatments. We tailor our addiction treatment programs to each individual, allowing you to get the personalized support you need in your recovery journey.

Treating Benzodiazepine Addiction

Whether you’ve been using benzos for weeks, months, or years, you will benefit greatly from seeking professional benzodiazepine detox. A medical detox program at an addiction recovery treatment center, like SOBA New Jersey, is the safest way to treat benzodiazepine addiction. At our detox facility, you will be able to receive individualized, professional care from addiction experts. These experts will use a gradual taper schedule to help your brain adjust to the decrease of benzos.

In addition, you’ll receive recommendations for follow-up treatment to give you the opportunity to continue growing strong in your recovery. After medical detox, most people either enter residential rehab or attend intensive outpatient treatment. At SOBA New Jersey, we offer customizable treatment programs that fit your life.

Benzo Medical Detox

The first step toward quitting benzos will be the detox process. Because you’ll be on a taper schedule, you may feel withdrawal symptoms for several weeks until your body adjusts to the decreased dosage.

During this time, you will receive medical and mental health care to treat any physical or mental health issues you’re struggling with. You may also receive medication to help minimize some withdrawal symptoms.

If increased anxiety has been a problem for you, your physician will discuss options for other non-addictive medications or techniques that can help limit your anxiety. Once you complete your detox process, it’s recommended that you continue with residential addiction treatment followed by outpatient treatment. This will help you learn how to stay off benzos and use alternative ways to treat anxiety.

How Long Does Benzo Detox Take?

The time frame varies, but many people are completely free from benzos after a gradual taper of several weeks. A benzo detox has a couple of phases: an acute stage and a post-acute withdrawal syndrome stage (PAWS).

The acute stage may last about a week or so depending on if the benzos you’re taking are short- or long-acting. Once you are through with this phase and are in PAWS, you can continue treatment. Some people decide to stay at a short-term residential program in a medically monitored house. The extra emotional and psychological support can be quite beneficial.

PAWS can last for months, depending on the dosage, frequency taken, type of the drug, and other factors. In general, the physical withdrawal symptoms subside much faster than some of the psychological ones. Some people continue to crave benzos for many months or even years to try to contend with anxiety.

Additional forms of treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with a counselor, can help minimize psychological symptoms. At SOBA New Jersey, our New Jersey benzodiazepine addiction treatment program is designed to help those struggling with benzo abuse develop the skills and tools they need to achieve lasting recovery. We offer support and guidance as you learn to minimize cravings, manage triggers, and prevent relapse in a healthy and powerful way.

Get the Help You Need to Stop Benzodiazepine Misuse & Abuse

Here at SOBA New Jersey, we provide various levels of care depending on your needs. Our addiction experts work closely with our clients to assess their particular situations and needs. We formulate gradual taper schedules that help our clients get through the withdrawal process safely and more comfortably. We also work to address any emotional, mental, and/or behavioral health concerns our clients may have.

Are you ready to break free from the cycle of addiction? Reach out to us today—our admissions specialists are standing by to address any concerns you may have and answer your questions. We are committed to offering compassionate, evidence-based care that can help you quit benzos for good.

Call (888) 229-7989 or contact us online to learn more about our benzodiazepine addiction treatments in New Jersey.

Overcoming Benzo Addiction

Whether you’ve been taking benzos for a few weeks or a couple of months, you can experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to come off them. If you’ve been taking benzos for at least six months, you can expect more intense withdrawal symptoms, especially if you try to come off them too abruptly.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on different factors, including but not limited to the:

  • Dosage a person is taking
  • Length of time someone has been taking benzos
  • Number of medications a person is taking
  • Individual’s addiction history and overall health
  • Type of benzodiazepines being used
  • Other medications/substances the individual is taking

The type of benzo you’ve taken also affects how fast you’ll feel withdrawal symptoms. If you’re taking short-acting benzos, like Xanax or Ativan, you may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as eight hours after the last dosage. If you’re taking longer-acting benzos, like Klonopin, you may not start feeling withdrawal symptoms until a day or two after your last dosage.

Some common withdrawal symptoms associated with benzodiazepines include:

  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Shaking hands
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Increased pulse
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Feeling like your skin is crawling
  • Goosebumps
  • Not being able to concentrate well
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling out of touch with reality
  • Seizures
  • Delirium
  • Feeling hypersensitive to light or touch

Keep in mind that if you undergo a gradual dose reduction under the care of your physician, your symptoms will lessen as you progress. You may still experience some withdrawal symptoms, but they will be milder and tend to come in waves.

Find Your Recovery

At times, you can feel lost and confused when struggling with addiction or mental health. Our team understands what you are going through and works with you to reclaim the life you deserve.

    I have so much to be grateful for because of SOBA.

    “I have been to other treatment centers and was never successful in maintaining sobriety. Thank you so much to Soba for helping me get my life back on track. I look forward to my future!”

    - Meghan P.
    SOBA answered my call on the first ring and saved my life.

    “The entire staff of SOBA is there for you...and give you the resources and strength to stay well. They showed me that there's nothing wrong with asking for help and carried me when I didn't have the strength or will to stand on my own.”

    - Mike
    I'm forever grateful to you all.

    “Entering recovery was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. It was also one of the smartest, and one I wish that I had made 20 years ago. Last week I reached my 10-month clean date. I’d like to express my gratitude.”

    - Amanda S.
    Because of them, I'm clear-minded & I have the most important thing back in my life, my family.

    “If you want top-quality care then SOBA is the place to be. The staff from top to bottom are caring, understanding & well educated on addiction. If you want your life back then put your trust in SOBA.”

    - Scott K.
    They SAVED MY LIFE. They can save yours.

    “I want to say thank you to everyone at SOBA. I came to them totally broken. The staff there helped me get my mental health straightened out all while getting me off any and all drugs for the 1st time in 24 years.”

    - Mike P.

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Struggling with addiction can seem scary and like there is no way out. Our team helps you take the first step towards the rest of your life.

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